Western Air Command (India)

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Western Air Command, Indian Air Force
WAC Crest.jpg
Founded July 22, 1949
Country India
Branch Indian Air Force
Type Operational Air Command
Role Air Defence, OCA, Offensive Ground Support, Civilian Relief.
Headquarters New Delhi
Motto Sanskrit: Akasha Pasmatsoma
Engagements 1962 Sino-Indian War, 1971 India-Pakistan War, Operation Meghdoot
Air Marshal S.S. Soman AVSM VM, AOC-in-C[1]
Air Marshal MSD Wollen, Air Marshal A.Y. Tipnis,

The Western Air Command (WAC) is the regional command of Indian Air Force headquartered in New Delhi. It is the largest and most important Air Command of the IAF, comprising sixteen Air Force Bases (AFBs), and is responsible for aerial defence of North India. The current Commander is Air Marshal S.S Soman AVSM VM, AOC-in-C, WAC.[1]

WAC's Area of Responsibility extends from Kashmir to Rajasthan, covering the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, New Delhi and some parts of Uttar Pradesh.[2]


WAC was raised in 1947 as the No. 1 Operational Group which controlled all the flying units of Indian Air Force, including the flying training units. On July 22, 1949, the No. 1 Operational Group was re-designated as the Operational Command. In 1958, The rank of the Commanding Officer of Operational Command was upgraded from Air Commodore to Air Vice Marshal and later, to the rank of Air Marshal.

In the aftermath of the India-China War of 1962, the IAF began the process of demarcation of specific areas of responsibility, and splitting up of the flying Corps into various operational air commands. On June 10, 1963, Operational Command assumed its present name of Headquarters Western Air Command.

Due to its geographical location in the crucial North Indian region, surrounded by Pakistan to the west and China to the East, WAC has been involved in all major operations in India since independence, and has been the hub-centre of all operational activities during any operation.

The IAF Western Air Command is engaged in air logistics operations to supply troops deployed at Siachen Glacier. These operations are undertaken from the Siachen Forward Air Base, using Mi-17, HAL Dhruv and HAL Cheetah helicopters.

The Western Air Command has been the major operational command involved in most of the war fought by India, including the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, Sino-Indian War in 1962, the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Indo-Pakistan War of 1971, Operation Pawan (1986) in Sri Lanka and Operation Safed Sagar during the 1999 Kargil War.


Western Air Command is headquartered at Subroto Park, New Delhi. It is headed by an Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, WAC, of the rank of Air Marshal. The current AOC-in-C WAC is Air Marshal S.S Soman AVSM VM.[1] Under the C-in-C come the Senior Air Staff Officer, Senior Maintenance Staff Officer and Senior Officer in Charge of Administration, who are of the ranks of Air Vice Marshal or Air Commodore. They handle the day-to-day activities of the Command and act as the liaison between the various Wings.

WAC also has a forward headquarters located at Chandigarh near the Army's Western Command. There is an Air Operations Group, formed in 1982, located at Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir, which is principally tasked with the defence of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.[2]

No. 224 Squadron, Indian Air Force was raised in July 1983 at Adampur and operated with WAC until its disbandment in 2007.

Squadrons include:[3]

Squadron Base Equipment Notes
No. 3 Squadron IAF Ambala MiG-21 No. 7 Wing
No. 5 Squadron IAF Ambala SEPECAT Jaguar No. 7 Wing
No. 14 Squadron IAF Ambala SEPECAT JaguarIS/IT No. 7 Wing IAF
No. 17 Squadron IAF Bhatinda (Bhisiana) Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 No. 34 Wing IAF
No. 21 Squadron IAF Sirsa Air Force Station MiG-21 No. 45 Wing IAF
No. 22 Squadron IAF Halwara Air Force Station Mikoyan MiG-27 No. 34 Wing
No. 25 Squadron IAF Chandigarh Airport Ilyushin IL-76MD No. 12 Wing
No. 26 Squadron IAF Pathankot Air Force Station Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21bis No. 18 Wing IAF
No. 47 Squadron IAF Adampur Mikoyan MiG-29 No. 8 Wing IAF
No. 48 Squadron IAF Chandigarh Airport Antonov An-32 No. 12 Wing
No. 51 Squadron IAF Srinagar AFS Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 No. 1 Wing IAF
No. 77 Squadron IAF Hindon Air Force Station Lockheed Martin C-130J No. 28 Wing IAF
No. 108 Squadron IAF Pathankot Air Force Station Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21M No. 18 Wing IAF
No. 223 Squadron IAF Adampur Mikoyan MiG-29 No. 8 Wing

No. 1 Wing IAF was formed at Jammu Air Force Station on 10 March 1948 and moved to Sringar on 25 January 1963.[4]

Air Bases[edit]

Western Air Command (India) is located in India
Palam, Delhi
Palam, Delhi
Location of WAC Air Bases

WAC has been assigned 10 permanent Air Force Stations (AFS)and 6 Forward Base Support Units (FBSUs), including the strategic Forward Air Base at Siachen. Along with these, WAC also has over 200 operational bases, Advance Landing Grounds (ALGs), and Operational centres placed under its command.

The Air Force Stations/Wings under WAC control are:[5]

Permanent Air Force Stations (AFS)[edit]

Base ICAO Runway Elevation Coordinates State/Territory
Adampur AFS VIAX 13/31 775 ft / 236 m 31°25′59.55″N 75°45′38.85″E / 31.4332083°N 75.7607917°E / 31.4332083; 75.7607917 (Adampur AFS) Punjab
Ambala AFS VIAM 12L/30R
900 ft / 274 m 30°22′07.16″N 76°48′54.21″E / 30.3686556°N 76.8150583°E / 30.3686556; 76.8150583 Haryana
Awantipur AFS VIAW 12/30 5,400 ft / 1,646 m 33°52′35.86″N 74°58′32.45″E / 33.8766278°N 74.9756806°E / 33.8766278; 74.9756806 (Awantipur AFS) Jammu & Kashmir
Chandigarh AFS VICG 11/29 1,012 ft / 308 m 30°40′24.49″N 76°47′18.75″E / 30.6734694°N 76.7885417°E / 30.6734694; 76.7885417 (Chandigarh AFS) Chandigarh
Halwara AFS VIHX 13/31 790 ft / 241 m 30°44′54.72″N 75°37′47.23″E / 30.7485333°N 75.6297861°E / 30.7485333; 75.6297861 (Halwara AFS) Punjab
Hindon AFS VIDX 09/27 700 ft / 213 m 28°42′27.71″N 77°21′30.87″E / 28.7076972°N 77.3585750°E / 28.7076972; 77.3585750 (Hindon AFS) Uttar Pradesh
Leh AFS VILH 06/24
10,682 ft/ 3,256 m 34°08′08.63″N 77°32′44.58″E / 34.1357306°N 77.5457167°E / 34.1357306; 77.5457167 (Leh AFS) Jammu & Kashmir
Palam AFS VIDP 09/27
776 ft / 237 mts 28°33′59.40″N 77°06′11.12″E / 28.5665000°N 77.1030889°E / 28.5665000; 77.1030889 (Palam AFS) Delhi
Pathankot AFS VIPK 01/19 1,017 ft / 310 m 32°14′01.60″N 75°38′04.66″E / 32.2337778°N 75.6346278°E / 32.2337778; 75.6346278 (Pathankot AFS) Punjab
Srinagar AFS VISR 13/31 5,458 ft / 1,664 m 33°59′12.82″N 74°46′25.78″E / 33.9868944°N 74.7738278°E / 33.9868944; 74.7738278 (Srinagar AFS) Jammu & Kashmir

Forward Base Support Units (FBSU)[edit]

Base ICAO Runway Elevation Coordinates State/Territory
Amritsar AFS VIAR 16/34 755 ft / 230 m 31°42′27.95″N 74°47′57.25″E / 31.7077639°N 74.7992361°E / 31.7077639; 74.7992361 (Amritsar AFS) Punjab
Bhatinda AFS VIBT 13/31 700 ft /213 m 30°16′12.50″N 74°45′20.78″E / 30.2701389°N 74.7557722°E / 30.2701389; 74.7557722 (Bhatinda AFS) Punjab
Sarsawa AFS VISP 09/27 891 ft / 272 m 29°59′39.53″N 77°25′27.25″E / 29.9943139°N 77.4242361°E / 29.9943139; 77.4242361 (Sarsawa AFS) Uttar Pradesh
Siachen Glacier AFS 22,000 ft / 6,706 m 35°30′N 77°00′E / 35.5°N 77.0°E / 35.5; 77.0 (Siachen Glacier AFS) Jammu & Kashmir
Sirsa AFS VISA 05/23 650 ft / 198 m 29°33′38.09″N 75°00′21.87″E / 29.5605806°N 75.0060750°E / 29.5605806; 75.0060750 (Sirsa AFS) Haryana
Udhampur AFS VIUX 18/36 1,950 ft / 594 m 32°54′08.06″N 75°09′18.54″E / 32.9022389°N 75.1551500°E / 32.9022389; 75.1551500 (Udhampur AFS) Jammu & Kashmir


  1. ^ a b c "Central Air Command". Indianairforce.nic.in. Retrieved 2012-06-01. 
  2. ^ a b WAC at Globalsecurity.org
  3. ^ Scramble.nl, Indian Air Force Order of Battle, accessed October 2011
  4. ^ "Indian air force proves Hamsafar in J&K". GroundReport. Retrieved 2012-06-01. 
  5. ^ "IAF Commands". Defenceindia.com. Archived from the original on 13 April 2009. 

External links[edit]

Commands of the Indian Air Force
Operational Commands
Command HQ Location
Central Air Command (CAC) Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh
Eastern Air Command (EAC) Shillong, Meghalaya
Southern Air Command (SAC) Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
South Western Air Command (SWAC) Gandhinagar, Gujarat
Western Air Command (WAC) Subroto Park, New Delhi
Functional Commands
Training Command (TC) Bangalore, Karnataka
Maintenance Command (MC) Nagpur, Maharashtra